Setting Duluth’s Priorities

Here’s a chance to voice your opinion about Duluth’s priorities, the quality of city services, and performance standards. Three focus groups will be held in late January and you can apply to become one of the participants. If selected, you’ll receive $35 for your participation.

To complete an application survey, go to either or

The research is being paid for by a grant from the National Center for Civic Innovation. Zenith Research Group of Duluth will conduct each of the 90-minute sessions. More than one member of each household can enter, part of an effort to reach a diverse and representative sampling of city residents. A full news release is available for review on the city’s website.



about 13 years ago

City website says registration runs Monday, Dec. 20 to Friday, Jan. 07.


about 13 years ago

So this is off topic but, does anyone know if it says anywhere on the page what the commitment is of our city counselors? Like how many hours each week? What/do they get paid? A more comprehensive job description?

I've always wanted to know.

Paul Lundgren

about 13 years ago

Natalie, you'd have to comb through the city charter to get specific answers, but my understanding is that councilors get paid roughly $10,000/year.

I don't think there is any requirement that they work a specific number of hours, but I have a vague memory of some councilor telling me once that it ends up being about 20 hours a week between meetings, handling phone calls and e-mails from constituents, and researching the various issues. Certainly some councilors spend more time, and others spend less.


about 13 years ago

Thanks Paul.  To be honest, in the past I was interested in running but was unsure if I could handle the time commitment along with my full-time job.


about 13 years ago

Natalie, a lot of the city councilors have full time jobs, so don't let that deter you from running.


about 13 years ago

Natalie, Roger Reinert told our Leadership Duluth cohort he earned roughly $2 an hour as a councilor.

That said, don't let the money dissuade you from running.  No politician does it for the salary.  Most have full-time jobs in addition to their elected offices.


about 13 years ago

"No politician does it for the salary."

This nearly caused me to spit my beverage on my Mac.


about 13 years ago

Here are some traits of successful city councilors.

1. Strong focus on [customer] service. As Paul said, a lot of time is spent answering questions and fulfilling constituent needs.

2. Good time management and prioritization skills. Many councilors work full time, and some aspects of the job can be complex depending on your skill sets. Know when to ask for help and/or defer to others. Likewise, play to your strengths.

3. Plays well with others. Forget the circus you see on the media or at the council meetings. Can you work well behind the scenes? Can you give and take?

4. Know when to get into details and when not to. Pothole politicians can get lost in the minutia and are demagogues.

4. What is your platform? Three to five simple bullet points max. They need to tell a story about you, your beliefs and your goals/dreams for the city. Oh, and they need to synthesize with voters so that you may win an election. "Greening Duluth" will win you the college and hippee vote. IOW, they don't vote and you will lose. Things like "creating jobs" and "reducing crime" will help you win.

5. Money wins elections. Period. Spend a little bit when you launch. Not much in the middle, and most of it in the last month. In the middle, focus on grassroots efforts like fund raising and flesh pressing with constituents and politicos. At the end, it's all about direct mailing (remember that old people vote), media relations and social media.


about 13 years ago

Thanks all for being so supportive! I actually could care less about the salary -- just the time constraint. I work 40 hours each week and have a 6 month old.

I wish I would have ran a few years ago, before I had the kid. Perhaps I'll give it serious consideration again in a few years.

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